MONACO PAYS TRIBUTE TO LONG FORGOTTEN LOCAL ARTIST HERCULE FLORENCE

Nouvelle expo à ne pas manquer à Monaco. New not-to-be-missed exhibit in Monaco.

Villa Paloma in Monaco hosts a new exhibition of the works of long forgotten local artist and explorer, Hercule Florence.

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He may have developed a method for printing photographic images using silver nitrate and urine in 1833, and had his experiments published in a Rio de Janeiro journal, but Monegasque-Brazilian artist Hercule Florence nonetheless lived most of his life in relative obscurity. He never got the place he deserved in history for his contributions to modern photographic processes.

A new exhibition of his works being held at Villa Paloma in Monaco is thankfully rectifying this, and finally giving him the proper credit he should have received much earlier.

Born in Nice to a surgeon in Napaloeon Bonaparte’s army and to a Monegasque mother, Augustine Vignalis, Hercule Florence grew up in the Principality. At the age of 20, he was hired as a cabin boy on the French ship Marie-Thérèse, which was touring the world and it was during a stopover in Rio in 1824, that he decided to stay in the city. A year later he was selected by the Baron of Langsdorff to document his scientific expedition to South America.

For five years, Florence was in charge of collecting information about the flora, fauna, and native tribes of the Amazonas. To do so, he invented what has been dubbed the Zoophonie to record the musical notation of bird songs as well as the Polygraphia, a printing method based on the principles of photography.

He also produced a series of drawings documenting the culture of coffee in the north of Sao Paulo and the native populations, put together a “Picturesque-Celestial Atlas” that depicted clouds in the sky of Campinas, and also produced many scientific manuscripts and biographical diaries, in which he detailed his research as well as the Langsdorff expedition which came to a tragic end..

Part of theses drawings and manuscripts are among the 400 pieces of art on display in Monaco alongside the first photographic copy of the history of the Americas as well as works created specifically exhibition by international artists such as Lucia Koch, Jochen Lempert, Leticia Ramos and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané.

‘Hercule Florence, Le Nouveau Robinson’ exhibit at the Villa Paloma runs until the 11th of June 2017. Tickets costs €6 and the exhibition is open daily from 11am to 7 pm.

CONTACT DETAILS
Villa Paloma
56, boulevard du Jardin Exotique
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 91 26

LUCKY LUKE TURNS 70 THIS AUTUMN

Une étape importante à célébrer!  An important milestone to celebrate!

Lucky Luke is turning 70 this year, and with nearly 80 adventures under his belt, he’s definitely looking good for his age!

The lonesome cowboy Lucky Luke is back this November with a new addition to the classic series, La Terre Promise (The Promised Land), which sees the comic strip hero help a Jewish family settle in the Wild West.

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Created by Belgian cartoonist Maurice de Bevere (aka Morris), Lucky Luke first appeared in the Almanach issue of the famed comic book Spirou,before shifting to Pilote magazine after Asterix’s legendary father, René Goscinny, started collaborating on the albums. Since then, many big names of the 9th Art have been carrying out the work of Morris and today, it is French illustrator Achdé who is at the helm of the series with, for the first time this year, the help of scriptwriter Jul.

Despite all those changes, our cowboy remains a true legend in the world of comics. Known as “the man who shoots faster than his shadow” because of his tremendous speed with the gun, Luke has been cruising through the Far West all those years with his faithful companion, Jolly Jumper, the brightest horse in the world, and his somewhat way less intelligent canine friend, Rantanplan, fighting crime. His most recurring foes are the Dalton Brothers who he has put behind bars countless times, but our hero has also run into Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Jack London, Abraham Lincoln, and many other well-known historical personalities.

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This time, in La Terre Promise, our hero is being asked by his friend, Jack, to look after his family since he doesn’t want to confess to them that he is a cowboy and not a New York lawyer. So Luke has to travel with a very religious grandfather, a mother who insists on feeding him stuffed fish, a daughter in search of the ideal husband, and a young boy more interested in the game of poker than in his bar mitzvah.

So, Happy Birthday cowboy, and here’s to many more wild adventures to come!

 

All images courtesy Lucky Luke Comics on Twitter

FALL IN LOVE WITH PROVENCE ALL OVER AGAIN WITH PATRICIA SANDS

Mon entretien avec l’écrivain canadien, Patricia Sands, pour Riviera Buzz. My interview of Canadian author, Patricia Sands, for Riviera Buzz.

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Canadian author Patricia Sands is in love with the French Riviera, a region she visits every year.

Her Love in Provence series, which includes three books to date, perfectly captures the beauty of the place we call home.

To get to know Patricia and her work better, we sat down with her to ask a few questions.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I am Canadian, with a home base in Toronto. I was a busy and happy stay-at-home mother for thirteen years until my husband suddenly died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 49. Our sons were 12 and 13. Needless to say it was a devastating time for us all.

I returned to university and became an elementary school teacher for a few years before I remarried. That was 20 years ago, and now our happily blended family consists of 7 adult ‘kids’ and six grandchildren. We all live near each other and spend a lot of time together. I play golf and tennis and still get out to ski from time to time, but my husband and I spend most of our winters in south Florida now. We try to spend a few months in Europe between May and October. It varies from year to year.

What brought you to France, and Antibes in particular?

I first fell in love with France when I backpacked around for a year when I was 21. The love affair has only grown throughout my life as I was fortunate to return often on holiday. For the past twenty years, my husband and I have spent at least two months there each year.

After renting a house in Biot one year, we discovered Antibes and that was that! My heart will live there forever and we return every year, although we also like to spend time in Nice as well.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I began writing seriously quite by accident! Ten years ago I started writing a book called The Bridge Club just for fun, for my real life Bridge Club. Eight women who have been friends for almost fifty years. As people began to read bits of the novel, they would say that their book club wanted to read it and that I was telling stories that most women would relate to in many ways. So I looked into publishing and decided to do it myself in 2010. After its success, I knew I would continue writing because I loved the whole experience.

When my husband and I were living in Antibes for 5 months in 2011, I wrote the first draft of The Promise of Provence, published in 2013, and the reader response was tremendous. So out of that novel grew the Love in Provence trilogy. In 2014, Book #2, Promises To Keep, was published. To that point I was publishing independently. However, Amazon discovered my books and signed me to a contract with their women’s fiction imprint, Lake Union Publishing. Lake Union then published Book #3 of the series, I Promise You This, in May 2016.

Being an author is never easy and it consumes my life, but when you love what you do, the effort is worth it.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the series?

In Book #1, 55-year-old Katherine Price’s husband of 22 years suddenly leaves her. She moves in with her elderly mother for a few months. The character of her mother, Elisabeth, is based on my late mother-in-law and much of her story is factual. It was important to me to share that. I hope readers will think about preserving their own family history when they read that part.

Then, Katherine or Kat, as she is often called, is persuaded to go on a home exchange to the Luberon and her life begins to change from her first day there. The location moves to Antibes as the story progresses. Book #2, Promises To Keep,continues her journey with a bit of drama added. Book #3, brings the trilogy to a close as Kat makes choices that will change her life forever. The story is in many ways a coming-of-age in middle age, and encourages readers to see that it’s never too late to take chances, make changes, and realize dreams.

In some ways the series is my love letter to France. I focus on location a great deal as I want my readers to see, smell, taste and savour life in the south of France. Many readers tell me they felt they were right there with the characters, and that’s very satisfying to me as a writer.

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Was it obvious for you to set the story in Provence?

Absolutely, no question! After the success of The Bridge Club and the realization I was going to keep writing about older women for the rest of my life, I knew my next book would be set in Provence. Little did I know it would become a series!

And do you have anything in common with the main character of your love in Provence series, Katherine Price?

I’ve never had to go through a divorce. However, having been widowed I know how it feels to suddenly begin to face life on your own at a later stage in life. Certainly, some aspects of Katherine’s personality have similarities to mine, but for the most part I would say she is her own person. We are both optimists and share the same values. It was great fun feeling her grow in confidence and outlook as the story unfolded.

Can we expect a fourth book in the series?

Funny you should ask! I receive emails from readers on a regular basis asking me to keep writing about the characters in the series. I would love to do that! So, right now I am working on a stand-alone novel … also set in France, but the Bouches-du-Rhône department rather than the Côte d’Azur. Hopefully that will be published early in 2017, and then I will return to Kat and friends. I can’t wait!

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You have a blog and you also lead tours of the French Riviera with the Women’s Travel Network. Does this help create a strong bond with your female readers?

Yes, I have a website with a lot of information about my books, about France and a lot of photography about France. I try to post once a week but don’t always manage that these days. Readers can also sign up for my monthly newsletter.

I’ve led two tours based on the locations in The Promise of Provence and we will do one in June 2017. I believe there are two spots left as we speak. There will be 16 women in all and it’s a fabulous trip. We spend 6 days in Nice and 6 in Avignon, with day trips to many of the wonderful villages in the story, including lavender fields. It’s great fun and lovely to get to know my readers in person.

In general, what is for you the hardest part about writing?

This may sound crazy, but I love everything about the world of writing. I guess the hardest part is knowing when to say a first draft is finished and ready to go to an editor. Writers always find ways to keep tweaking a story to make it better and better. I’m definitely guilty of that.

And the most rewarding?

This was a surprise to me. I never anticipated hearing from so many readers and the emails they send are wonderful. They are inspiring, motivating, satisfying and rewarding. The advent of ebooks has made it so easy to communicate with an author and I love hearing from readers. I try to respond personally to each one, but some times this is not possible and that’s why I began writing a monthly newsletter. It helps me feel like I am talking to readers who want to hear from me. I only send it to people who subscribe to it.

The other rewarding part of writing is the amazing, supportive, caring international community of writers I get to associate with and learn from. What an honour to be part of it.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read Stephen King’s book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. The most important advice I took from it when I was beginning to write The Bridge Club is this: if you feel so strongly that you have a story to tell, sit down and write it. Make mistakes. Find your voice. TELL YOUR STORY IN YOUR OWN WAY! Then work with a good, reputable editor (not a relative or friend) who will help you hone your style. Write, write, write!

Finally, as you spend some time every year in Antibes, what do you like so much about the French Riviera?

Where do I begin? I like the people, the history, the language, the food and wine, and, of course, the beauty. Since photography is a big part of what I do, the visual beauty of that part of the world offers endless opportunities.

I feel incredibly blessed to spend time there and to be able to share my love of that part of the world with so many readers.

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you.

Patricia-Sands-Amazon

Many thanks to Patricia for taking the time to talk to us. To find out more about the Love in Provence series and Patricia’s other activities, you can visit her website, her Amazon Author Page, or connect via Instagram.

All photos courtesy Patricia Sands except final image via Amazon

DISCOVER NICE’S HIDDEN SECRETS WITH LOCAL AUTHOR MARGO LESTZ

Mon entretien avec l’auteur niçois Margo Lestz pour Riviera Buzz. My interview with local author Margo Lestz for Riviera Buzz.

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Passionate about both Europe and history, local author Margo Lestz writes mostly about the French Riviera and France.

American author Margo Lestz has written two books, French Holidays & Traditions and Curious Histories of Nice, France, full of engaging stories and fun facts about the place we call home.

To help you get to know Margo and her work better, she very kindly agreed to sit down with us and answer a few questions.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I always say I’m a perpetual student because throughout my life, I’ve had the desire to go to school. Sometimes just for a course or two, and sometimes for degrees. My university years started at the age of 17 and ended when I was in my 50s – that is, if they have, indeed, ended … I have a degree in liberal studies because I could never decide on just one subject to study.

What brought you to France, and Nice in particular?

My husband and I are American by birth, and we moved to London in 2003 and took British citizenship. London is a fantastic city and I love it, but because of health issues, I needed a warmer winter climate. The south of France seemed like a good choice, since I had studied a little bit of French, and Nice was the most practical location because of the airport being close to the city centre. So, Nice was really a practical choice, but right away, we fell in love with the city.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I know many writers say they have written stories all their life, but not me. I never even thought about writing until 2003 when I took a creative writing course. I was trying to finish up a degree before I left the US and my advisor said this creative writing course would fit in with my requirements. I took it and to my surprise, I found that I really enjoyed writing.

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Your first book was about French Holidays and traditions. What is your favourite tradition?

Well, I really like the story behind May 1st and the lily-of-the-valley flower. It seems the tradition started in 1561 when Charles IX took the throne. He was a pretty unlucky king and had all kinds of tragedies during his reign. Once on May 1st, when his kingdom was in a mess and his people were starving, he tried to cheer them up by having his soldiers pass out lily-of-the-valley flowers in Paris. This was supposed to be a symbol of good luck, but because everyone was hungry, they ate the flowers (which are poisonous) and Charles ended up killing many of his loyal subjects. However, the lily-of-the-valley’s reputation as a good luck symbol remained intact.

Your second book was about curious histories of Nice. Any unknown/fun facts you can share with us?

Many people don’t know that when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden that a band of angels felt sorry for them and led them across a beautiful bay to a land just as magnificent as their former garden. Of course, that land was Nice … at least according to the legend. This is one story to explain where the name Baie des Anges or Bay of Angels came from. For those who might not believe this legend, the proof is that Adam and Eve’s house is still standing in the Old Town – of course, there’s a good chance that it might not be the original.

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Have you any new projects in the pipeline at the moment?

I’m currently working on a book similar to Curious Histories of Nice, France, but with stories about Provence. Maybe it will be called Curious Histories of Provence – we’ll have to wait and see.

Typically, how long does it take to research your books? Where do you find your background information?

I don’t really get in a hurry; I think it took about two years to have enough information for the first two books. One reason it takes me a while to write a book is that I don’t always stick to one subject: I tend to work on multiple projects at the same time.

I really like researching and I use internet sources as well as books and periodicals. I prefer to research in French because there is more information and sometimes there is a bit of a different perspective.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

For me, the hardest part of writing is physical. If I’m really into something, I just forget to stop, and I can end up sitting in front of my computer for many hours. My neck and shoulders get stiff, then when I get up … ouch!

And the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of writing is when other people appreciate my stories. Even if I like something I have written, there are still little doubts about whether it’s any good. When someone I don’t know says they enjoy it, it’s a good feeling.

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What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The best advice for an aspiring writer is to write. The more you write, the better you become and the more your style develops. I think it’s important to push through your first draft – don’t try to make everything perfect, just get it down. After all your ideas are down, then you can start to refine it.

Finally, what do you like so much about Nice and the French Riviera?

I like that Nice is big enough to have lots of activities going on all the time, but small enough to walk wherever you need to go. Being by the sea is a big bonus – even though I don’t swim, it’s still beautiful and calming to look at. I also find that most of the people here are very friendly and helpful and no one gets in much of a hurry about anything.

Many thanks to Margo for taking the time to talk to us. We are already looking forward to read her upcoming book! To find out more about Margo’s work, you can visit her website, The Curious Rambler.

All images courtesy Margo Lestz

 

Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE : Remise des prix

Voilà ! Après 28 livres (10 romans, 9 policiers et 9 documents) répartis sur 12 mois, de septembre à avril, l’aventure du Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle 2016 s’est achevée mercredi avec la remise des prix aux 3 lauréats.

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Les heureux gagnants ?

  • «  Je vous écris dans le noir » de Jean-Luc Seigle dans la catégorie roman ;
  • « Les infâmes » de Jax Miller dans la catégorie policier ;
  • «  Et tu n’es pas revenu » de Marceline Loridan-Ivens.

Un palmarès qui m’a réjouit tant j’ai aimé ces trois livres!

Pour cette soirée, le magazine Elle avait bien fait les choses. Quelques heures avant la remise des prix, les 120 lectrices ont ainsi été conviées à échanger avec les lauréats dans les magnifiques salons de l’hôtel Le Marois- France Amérique ; l’occasion de parler anglais avec Jax Miller, une américaine déjantée à la verve fleurie, de découvrir Marceline Loridan-Ivens, un petit bout de femme de 88 ans qui a su nous émouvoir avec sa lettre courte mais poignante adressée à son papa, déporté avec elle à Auschwitz , et enfin d’entendre Jean-Luc Seigle, le seul homme présent, nous parler de sa passion pour Modiano.

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Après une photo de groupe et quelques discours, nous nous sommes ensuite tous retrouvés ( lectrices, auteurs, éditeurs et journalistes) autour d’un délicieux buffet, au son d’un piano, ce qui a donné lieu à de belles rencontres et permis à de nouvelles amitiés de se lier.

Une merveilleuse expérience qui s’achève donc sur une note parfaite, avec toutefois un petit pincement au cœur. Il me faudra en effet attendre 3 ans avant de pouvoir postuler à nouveau . Finis les petits paquets chaque mois dans ma boite aux lettres ainsi que les notes et commentaires à envoyer. Même s’il était parfois compliqué de respecter les délais,  cela va me manquer. Heureusement, il reste le groupe Facebook qui a été créé par une des lectrices pour nous accompagner dans cette aventure et qui continue à être une formidable plateforme de partage avec toutes mes nouvelles copines de lecture !

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PS : Pour celles qui seraient intéressées, rendez-vous en avril 2017 sur le site du magazine Elle. Il vous faudra alors remplir un formulaire d’inscription et envoyer la critique d’un livre récent.

LOSE YOURSELF IN BOOKS AT NICE’S FESTIVAL DU LIVRE

The festival du livre de Nice est de retour. The Nice Book Festival is back!

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History lessons is the chosen theme for the 21st edition of the Festival du Livre that takes place from 3rd to 5th June in Nice.

The march of history is never steady and linear. Rather, it is a series of stumbles, falls, errors, recoveries … And often, the same mistakes are made over and over again, because we fail to learn from the past. Welcome to the Festival du Livre 2016.

Under the presidency of French doctor, novelist and former ambassador Jean-Christophe Rufin who, as president of Action Against Hunger and one of the founders of Médecins Sans Frontières knows a thing or two about human rights around the world, some 200 journalists, historians, philosophers and people from the world of entertainment will share their vision of the world, and the lessons they have learned from history.

Many are regulars, like Nice-born writer Didier Van Cauwelaert, whose book Un Aller Simple won the Prix Goncourt in 1994, while others will be present for the first time. Among those newcomers, one should be a big draw: Olivier Bourdeaut. The young author has taken France by storm this winter with his debut novel, En Attendant Bojangles, an off-the-wall tale of a boy growing up in an eccentric household, which has seduced readers and critics alike, won three popular French literary prizes, and already sold in excess of 160,000 copies.

Aside from the always popular book signings, there will be public readings of famous literary works, roundtable debates, and concerts organised in various venues around the city before and during the festival, while the now famous literary prize, le Prix Nice Baie des Anges, will be awarded on Friday to Akli Tadjer for La Reine du Tango, a novel that shows that tango is much more than just a passion.

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Year on year, the festival continues to establish and re-establish itself as a uniquely vibrant and inspiring gathering of readers and writers, and this latest edition shouldn’t be any different.

The Festival du Livre de Nice takes place from the 3rd to the 5th of June (10am to 7pm each day) on Boulevard Jean-Jaurès, Place Gautier (Cours Saleya) and Place du Palais de Justice. Admission is free.

 

Images courtesy Festival du Livre de Nice

Grand Prix des Lectrices Elle (Suite)

Le grand prix des lectrices ELLE m’offre définitivement, sélection après sélection, l’occasion de découvrir de nouveaux univers, à commencer par celui des polars que je connaissais très mal. Je ne suis toujours pas une spécialiste, loin de là, mais après 6 mois de lecture j’ai eu un coup de coeur pour le premier roman de l’américaine Jax Miller, Les Infâmes.
Les-Infames
Voici ma critique:
 
C’est une véritable plongée dans l’Amérique profonde, celle des laissés-pour-compte, des marginaux, des skinheads ou encore des religieux fanatiques que nous offre Jax Miller pour son premier roman. Comme le titre l’indique d’ailleurs, ici point de rêve américain pour les protagonistes de ce livre : l’héroïne, Freedom Oliver est une écorchée vive, vulgaire et alcoolique, qui se cache depuis 18 ans dans un bar pour motards de l’Oregon, sous protection du FBI, pour échapper à la vengeance de son beau-frère. Pourtant lorsqu’elle apprend que la fille qu’elle a du abandonner à la naissance, a disparu, elle n’hésite pas à tout risquer pour la retrouver. En chemin, Freedom va rencontrer un indien guérisseur, un shérif véreux, un prédicateur pédophile…
On pourra regretter certains clichés et des personnages parfois caricaturaux mais la construction est habile et l’histoire haletante de la première à la dernière page. L’auteure a su créer une ambiance malsaine et sordide qui prend à la gorge, avec de nombreux rebondissements et une écriture très cinématographique, tout en coups de poing.
Surtout, elle réussit à faire de son héroïne une personne attachante, malgré tous ses défauts, qui au fil de l’intrigue dévoile sa vulnérabilité et son humanité. Et si la fin peut paraître un peu trop hollywoodienne, elle apporte une touche d’espoir et une promesse d’avenir qui fait du bien après tant de noirceur. Une belle révélation !
 

GRAND PRIX DES LECTRICES ELLE 2016 (Suite)

La catégorie “documentaire” du Grand Prix des Lectrices Elle 2016 a été pour l’instant l’occasion de belles découvertes. Des destins hors du commun ( Lucie Dreyfus, la femme du capitaine, ou encore Gertrude Bell, archéologue, aventurière et agent secret) et des histoires fascinantes (Naître et survivre de Wendy Holden par exemple qui raconte comment 3 femmes déportées à Mauthausen ont réussi à accoucher dans l’enfer des camps et à protéger leur nouveau-né ). Mais surtout, il y a LE livre, celui qui m’a bouleversée, émue, fait réfléchir…Ce petit livre, c’est “Et tu n’es pas revenu” de Marceline Loridan-Ivens.

et tu n'es pas revenu

Voici ma critique:

C’est une lettre courte mais poignante que Marceline Loridan-Ivens adresse à son papa, Salomon Rosenberg, déporté avec elle à Auschwitz mais qui n’en est jamais revenu. Elle n’avait que 15 ans lorsqu’ils ont tous deux été faits prisonniers lors d’une rafle. Il lui avait alors dit : « Toi tu reviendras peut-être parce que tu es jeune, moi je ne reviendrai pas ». Ces paroles, l’auteur ne les a jamais oubliées, pas plus que leur dernière étreinte dans l’enfer des camps. Mais comment reprendre une vie normale après avoir vécu l’indicible ? Comment surmonter la culpabilité d’avoir survécu alors que tant d’autres ont péri ? Et comment raconter l’inimaginable à ceux qui ne l’ont pas vécu et ne peuvent pas comprendre ?

Dans ce récit dépouillé et pudique, sans aucun détail superflu, Marceline Loridan-Ivens ne cache rien des pires moments de son existence : la petite fille grecque dont elle a malgré elle causé la mort, le vol des affaires des personnes gazées à leur arrivée, le difficile retour en France, les silences de sa mère qui ne veut rien savoir des souffrances endurées par sa fille, la déception de son petit frère qui aurait préféré que ce soit leur père qui revienne…

Les mots sont simples mais forts et si l’auteure arrive à coucher ses souvenirs sur papier, elle ne peut empêcher la colère et la douleur qui l’étreignent encore, plus de 70 ans plus tard, de s’exprimer dans chaque phrase. Elle a survécu, oui, mais à quel prix !

Il y a peu Marceline Loridan-Ivens demandait à une autre rescapée : « Maintenant que la vie se termine, tu penses qu’on a bien fait de revenir des camps ? » et celle-ci lui avait répondu : « Je crois que non ». Ce terrible constat résume bien à quel point « l’après »  a été difficile pour les anciens déportés. Leurs témoignages sont pourtant une nécessité pour ne jamais oublier. Et ce que Marceline Loridan-Ivens réussit à nous offrir avec cette lettre écrite d’une seule traite est un récit bouleversant à lire absolument et à partager autour de soi.

A suivre…

Grand Prix des lectrices ELLE 2016

Mes lectures se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas! Depuis septembre dernier, j’ai la chance de faire partie du grand prix des lectrices ELLE et chaque mois, je reçois un roman, un polar et un documentaire que je dois noter.
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Après 6 mois, mon coup de coeur dans la catégorie roman est pour l’instant Someone d’Alice McDermott. Voici ma critique:
Marie, l’héroïne de Someone n’a rien d’une personne extraordinaire. Elle mène une vie ordinaire entourée de gens ordinaires, dans le quartier de Brooklyn, alors irlandais, entre les deux guerres mondiales.
Pourtant, sous la plume sensible d’Alice McDermott, même le plus petit événement prend une importance considérable. Avec tendresse et des mots justes, elle nous raconte ainsi, à la première personne, la vie d’une femme avec ses drames et ses joies : la mort de son père, son premier chagrin d’amour son travail dans une entreprise de pompes funèbres, la naissance de son premier enfant, sa myopie qui la rendra presqu’aveugle à la fin de sa vie….Et à travers son parcours et ses souvenirs, c’est tout un monde que nous découvrons ; celui du New York de la première moitié du XXème siècle, encore très emprunt de religion et traumatisé par les événements internationaux. Dans sa famille, son frère renonce à sa vocation de prêtre, de l’autre côté de la rue, un aveugle assis sur une chaise arbitre les jeux des enfants du quartier…
Marie est le témoin privilégié de son époque. Elle ne juge pas, elle se remémore juste, par petites touches, avec nostalgie et sans nécessairement respecter un ordre chronologique, des petites choses de son passé, un monde qui change, les années qui passent… Des vies simples en quelque sorte pour un chronique tout en justesse et délicatesse que l’on quitte à regret une fois la dernière page tournée!
A suivre…

PARIS IS A MOVEABLE FEAST, OR WHEN A BOOK BECOMES AN ACT OF RESISTANCE

Suite aux terribles attaques survenues à Paris mi-novembre, les Parisiens cherchent confort dans la littérature, et dans un livre en particulier. Following the horrific attacks in Paris in mid-November, Parisians are seeking comfort in literature, and in one book in particular.

Paris

Shortly after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket, people all around France flocked to bookstores to purchase a copy of Voltaire’s ‘Treatise on Tolerance’ as a mark of resistance against barbarity. This time following the horrendous shootings that left 130 people dead and wounded more than 350 other on Friday 13th November, French citizens are once again turning to literature for comfort, rushing to buy Hemingway’s masterpiece ‘A Moveable Feast’.

In his Paris memoir, published posthumously in 1964 and titled in French « Paris est une fête » (Paris is a party), the famed American author recounts his bohemian adventures in the French capital as a member of the Lost Generation in the 1920’s.

This surge in popularity can be explained in part by the fact that #Parisestunefete has recently become a patriotic hastag on social media, but most of all by the interview given by a woman known only as “Danielle” to French TV station BFM TV, in which she urged her fellow citizens to bring flowers to commemorate the dead and to read Hemingway’s tribute to Paris because “we are a very ancient civilization, and we will hold high the banner of our values, and we will show brotherhood to the five million Muslims who exercise their religion freely and kindly, and we will fight against the 10,000 barbarians who kill, they say, in the name of Allah.”

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As a consequence, while the book has shot to the top of the literary charts, copies have also been placed along with flowers and candles on the sites of the massacres to show that no matter what, Paris will remain one of world’s capitals of culture.

And if ‘A Moveable Feast‘ is far from being misty-eyed about Paris, it remains a beautiful celebration of the city, described as an exciting place with a festive way of life. After all, as Hemingway himself wrote in the opening lines: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

 

Lead image © lazyllama